Racial profiling and affirmative action
Since the 1960s, the progressive wing of the left has crusaded for a “color-blind” society in addition to the adulation of minorities. Alas, these two aims are obviously contradictory.
This duplicity subtly surfaced in President Barack Obama’s remarks last week following the Ferguson grand jury decision. “[T]here are issues in which the law too often feels as if it is being applied in a discriminatory fashion,” he declared. Obama was referring to the unfair treatment of African-Americans. Yet there’s another legitimate reason for his sentiment. It’s only a shame that as a constitutional scholar, he cannot detect the hypocrisy. For the federal government itself expressly applies the law in a discriminatory fashion for diversity’s sake.
From coast to coast, college admissions and hiring decisions in both the public and private sectors are determined, if not by quotas, then at the least by “targets.”
President Lyndon B. Johnson successfully usurped the wisdom of not only the Founding Fathers, but also Martin Luther King Jr. No longer were all men created equally. No longer were citizens to be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.
Those who seek to engineer racial diversity claim that more diverse institutions are first, necessary to right historical wrongs, and, second, morally superior and economically advantageous. Regarding historical wrongs, should Officer Darren Wilson have been immediately imprisoned even after the St. Louis County grand jury brought no criminal charges against him? Should the justice system establish a protocol to imprison random white members of law enforcement to balance past iniquities? Of course not. But this hypothetical exercise intimately follows the prejudiced logic of legal quotas and targets.
With respect to the allegedly morally superior and economically advantageous nature of diverse institutions, this is difficult to prove in quantitative terms. Certainly, specific businesses, schools, groups, and government agencies benefit from diversity. Regrettably though, no organization gains from being repeatedly forced to hire or acquire, due to legal obligations, under- and less-qualified candidates. And no community profits from having its most skilled and passionate citizens classified and sidelined because of their pigmentation.
Over the course of decades, postmodernists and other eggheads in the Ivory Tower have indoctrinated America’s leaders with the notion that race is merely a “social construct,” often defined as a false category resulting from misperception and bias. The frustrating irony is that these tenured radicals are often — if not the very partisans pushing the agenda — aligned with those who zealously promote ethnic studies, heritage months, etc.
For the sake of social stability, the left must decide whether or not some degree of inherent difference exists among individuals. Once it realizes that there does, it needs to assess the consistency of its methods to construct a more harmonious America. The only way to guarantee a truly fair society is to foster not equality of outcome, but rather equality of opportunity. Respect comes from the perception that achievements are earned as opposed to allotted.
Jonathan Bronitsky holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Cambridge.